Global Health Asia-Pacific May 2022 May 2022 - Page 24

Heart News

Infant infections raise heart disease risk in adulthood
Prevention in infancy could minimise the risk of heart problems later in life

Researchers at the Murdoch Children Research Institute ( MCRI ) in Australia have identified a potential link between infections in early life and the development of cardiovascular disease in adulthood . In a study involving 555 infants , they observed that high rates of infections by 12 months of age were associated with inflammation and changes to metabolism ( the process of turning food into energy ) similar to those experienced by adults at risk of heart disease .

This suggests that repeated infections in infancy could increase the risk of heart disease , obesity , stroke , and type 2 diabetes , said Dr Toby Mansell , a researcher at MCRI and one of the authors , in a press release .
“ We found the risk of adult-onset cardiovascular disease could be accruing from early life ,” he said . “ We know babies are prone to infections . This causes inflammation , a key cardiometabolic risk factor , but the relationship between infection , inflammation , and metabolic profiles in early childhood had remained underexplored until this study .”
The new evidence could improve heart disease prevention provided that steps are taken to lower infection rates in infants . “ Targeted action could include promoting breastfeeding , ensuring timely vaccination , and supporting families so that they can keep children at home if they are unwell with an infection ,” MRCI Professor David Burgne , a study coauthor , said in the press release .
Cardiovascular problems are the most common cause of death worldwide , with ischaemic heart disease responsible for 16 percent of total deaths , or almost nine million , in 2019 , according to the World Health Organization .
Smart watches can remotely detect a weak heart pump
An artificial intelligence algorithm led doctors to make the diagnosis

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emote electrocardiogram ( ECG ) monitoring done through smart watches and interpreted by an artificial intelligence algorithm has allowed researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US to single out patients with a weak heart muscle or “ pump ”, a condition where the heart doesn ’ t pump blood as well as it should .
Hundreds of patients from 46 US states and 11 countries transmitted their ECG results to researchers over the course of six months through an application that was used more than once by 92 percent of them , a high participation suggesting that the practice could be scalable .
A weak heart pump affects two to three percent of the global population and up to nine percent of those over 60 , but the condition may be asymptomatic or lead to shortness of breath , leg swelling , or racing heart beats , said Dr Paul Friedman , chair of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Mayo Clinic , in a press release .
“ What is important is that once we know a weak heart pump is present , there are many lifesaving and symptom-preventing treatments available . It is absolutely remarkable that AI transforms a consumer watch ECG signal into a detector of this condition , which would normally require an expensive , sophisticated imaging test , such as an echocardiogram , CT scan , or MRI ,” he said .
The hope is that this approach will make diagnosing a weak heart pump easier by reducing the need to visit a hospital or clinic to get tested .
22 MAY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com